Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions? More Champagne and Chocolate!

If there is anything I wish for you this New Years,
it is more decadence, more travel, more champagne and chocolate!

Life is too short... not have it all!

On this last day of 2010,
do me the honor of letting me thank every single one of you
for your companionship, your ideas,
your passion, your creativity.

I am grateful beyond words to each and every one for being here.
I have come to love your presence, look forward to your visits, feel lost without your words
and am constantly amazed at the feeling of friendship I feel
toward loved ones I have never met.
As we support one another,
know that I adore you.
And wish you every
in 2011!

As my French teenage niecelette would say:
<3 <3 <3

Monday, December 27, 2010

Notre Dame Noel~ Missing Paris Day

(Photographs copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Someday I'd like to go to Midnight Mass at Notre Dame on Christmas.
I've been told it's spectacular.
The family we normally spend it with,
when in Paris for the holidays,
lives about three hours outside of Paris.
And we've never been inclined to give up that time with them
for anything.

I love how Paris dresses herself up pretty during the holidays,
making herself even more inviting.

While I love the holidays, I'm finding myself happy to have them behind us again this year.
I can feel the collective sigh of relief from adults and parents.
Time for quiet family dinners...
 and New Year's Resolutions!

Got any?

Friday, December 24, 2010

'S a Wonderful Life~ Merry Christmas!

Found this old postcard from 1908
sent from one of my ancestors to another.
I love hunting amongst the scrapbook for treasure
picking through photos and postcards looking for clues as to who they were.

I'm on their trail but they don't make it easy!

Wishing you a verry Merry Christmas
to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse on Winter Solstice

Anyone see the glorious morning lunar eclipse?
I missed it.
Woke up at 3am and it was over.
Moon was gorgeous though!
But if you caught it,
I hope it was spectacular in your area.

Happy Winter Solstice!

(Postcard via The Graphics Fairy)

Monday, December 20, 2010

'That' Time Again in Paris~ Missing Paris Day

I love that time in Paris when all the boulangerie windows
are stacked with the wickedly delicious,
almond-paste filled
Galette des Rois.

Means it's Christmas
as well as marking Epiphany
on January 6th.

I think they are made to be so delicious,
all filled with their decadent frangipane,
so that when you take a bite
an epiphany reminds you, 
 how good life is!

Happy Christmas Week!  
Epiphanies to all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'Paris: The Luminous Years'' on PBS tonight

As if to answer the question in my last post, a documentary on Paris and its artists (between the years 1905 and 1930) makes its nationwide premiere tonight at 9pm on PBS. The 2-hour documentary, 'Paris: The Luminous Years- Toward the Making of the Modern' by Perry Miller Adato (who has won awards for her documentaries and includes the likes of  Dyland Thomas, Mary Cassatt and Georgia O'Keeffe to mention a few) includes archival footage as well as interviews and never-before-seen photos of the artists and writers of the time. It explores the artists and their relationships as well as how these relationships affected their lives and work.

The film includes words from a stellar line-up of modern art celebrities such as Jean Cocteau, Aaron Copland, Marcel Duchamp, Sylvia Beach, Marc Chagall, Stravinsky and others.

"It's the period from 1905 to 1930 when everybody, almost nearly everyone -- it's just amazing -- who did anything that was important in the arts, in nearly all the arts, was in Paris," explains filmmaker Perry Miller Adato. "Sometimes only for a couple of weeks, sometimes for a couple of months, others for their whole lifetime, but it didn't matter because no matter how short or long it was, it changed their work, and it changed their life."

Tune in tonight for a look at how our favorite city became the inspirational meeting point for the creative minds and souls who inspired each other and then nearly a century of future artists.

(Quote from Monique Marcil's article more of which you can read here.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Writing Cafe in Paris~ Missing Paris Day

(Photographs copyright: Kirsten Steen)

My last trip to Paris
I think I told you that I spent one particular day writing
in several cafes, churches and the infamous Shakespeare and Co.
trying purposefully to fit them all into one day.

One of the cafes was Le Champ de Mars
just across the park of the same name
which separates the 15th and the 7th arrondissement
and houses the monument-iful Tour Eiffel.

I have yet to walk through this park without being able to take my eyes off the tower. Funny that something so despised by the French in the beginning should become such a national symbol. Like the Golden Gate Bridge and Big Ben, anyone who sees this symbol in a photo or tv clip knows instantly where they are.

The tree-lined alleys are typically hopping with joggers,
le sport of jogging having 'stuck' in France.

On this particular day, I ordered myself a lait chaud
and set about filling longhand pages in my notebook...

...taking notes on the interior of the cafe...

...the people...

...and, as they were preparing for lunch,
the powerful French aromas emanating from the kitchen.

A friend of ours goes to Paris nearly every summer for two months
to study painting under a Montmartre artiste.
I've made a couple of requests regarding certain scenes in the neighborhood
and I think Cafe Le Champ de Mars might make the perfect subject matter!

Paris definitely has that je ne sais quoi
that attracts artistes of every ilk.

What is it, do you think, that inspires such devotion to artistry in this city?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter in Paris~Missing Paris Day

(Photograph copyright: Kirsten Steen)

One of the things I have started again,
particularly good for when I am missing Paris or anticipating going,
is to listen to French radio.

This helps me to pick up on French words I have missed, lost
or that need refreshing.
The most trouble I have with the language is hearing it
so this helps to quicken my auditory comprehension
(such as it is).

If you care to join me,
go to
click on the red button on your right
that says "Ecoutez le Direct"
and try to pick out the words you understand.
You can also read the headlines
(with French dictionary handy, of course)
and pick up a few new words that way.

If I close my eyes, I can smell le cafe at my small red table,
taste le pain from my bread basket
and hear the conversation between the couple sitting next to me.

A bientot!
(look it up!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top Ten Books of 2010

According to the New York Times Sunday Book Review, Jonathan Franzen's book Freedom heads the year's ten best books. Followed by:

The New Yorker Stories by Ann Beattie
Room by Emma Donoghue
Selected Stories by William Trevor
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Finishing The Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes by Stephen Sondheim
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson.

What about you? What were your favorite books of the year?